Going to the market in any country is always a favorite experience of mine. I love being able to interact with the local people, practice (and unfortunately slaughter) their language. It’s such a fun experience, and definitely worth remembering if you’ve experienced this in your own travels. At the very least it’s worth reading about on this post if you’ve never experienced a foreign market. Either way, here’s a word picture for the market experience here. I hope it evokes a vivid picture in your mind!
When I finally stop at a table to purchase something, I am greeted with eager welcoming eyes. I can almost read their thoughts, “What is the foreigner wanting to buy? How much can I mark this up?” I know that I will get foreigner prices, but I figure that is my just reward since I can’t speak their language and make them work hard to communicate with me. I point and ask how much. Even my foreigner price is far below what I would pay for the same thing in the U.S., so I hand over the money knowing they work hard enough to merit the overcharging and I’m still getting a great bargain. They try to convince me to buy a few more things by pointing at various wares on their table and picking out the “best” one. Sometimes I concede, but other times I just put up my hand, take my bag of goods, and walk until I find something else that catches my eye.
In the end, I walk back with my bounty of bargains and a smile on my face knowing that I made some Malagasy people very happy and padded their pockets ever so slightly while bringing back treasures for my family.